“Marriage is the union of two different surnames, in friendship and in love, in order to continue the posterity of the former sages, and to furnish those who shall preside at the sacrifices to heaven and earth, at those in the ancestral temple, and at those at the altars to the spirits of the land and grain.” —Confucius,
As this culture becomes more individual focused, bonds with others for survival becomes less important. We now pay people to do the things we used to accomplish in a partnership. Restaurants and fast food chains, once relegated to occasional family outings, are a main source of nourishment. There are agencies that will deliver "home-cooked meals" to you or have them ready for pick-up. Cleaning staff, once limited to the rich or to businesses, are being used by the middle-class. Both parents are working, focusing on their careers, their paths toward self individuation, and more tedious tasks like yard work are being hired out. The point, partnerships are less necessary than they were 60 years ago. That is the social reason that the institution of marriage may be outdated. But the social influence does not stand alone. These changes impact individuals and individuals make up a marriage. So what are some of the individual characteristics that may contribute to marriage being an outdated concept? First, as discussed above, it is the desire for individuation by those in a marriage. More and more often people want to have meaning in their life, beyond raising a family. We are culture whose individuals want to be different. Americans want to stand out. They want to feel they accomplished something for themselves. As such, simply supporting a partner to achieve feels inadequate to many. They also want to achieve, and to be supported in their endeavors. This alone can contribute to strife in a marriage. Whose needs come first? How long do I put my goals on the back burner to help you attain yours? When can I pursue my happiness?
“Is marriage as an institution outdated?” Discuss
According to the most recent statistics, the divorce rate, often quoted (even by this author in classes) as 50% of marriages, is actually closer to the low 40 percentile. (Divorce Rate: It's Not as High as You Think, By Dan Hurley, The New York Times, and April 19, 2005). But that does not negate the fact that the United States has the highest divorce rate in the world per capital. The fact that so many American marriages end in divorce leads to the question is marriage an outdated institution? I think the answer is dependent on some of your personal variables. First, let us look at the facts: over 40% of marriages end in divorce. This does not simply infer that the intact marriages are happy. This author attended a lecture by a respected psychiatrist, rabbi, and author who suggested that another half of the in-tact marriages were unhappy. Per capita, the United States has the highest divorce rate in the world. The average duration of a marriage in the U.S is about 7 to 8 years. And although marriage is an institution which makes childrearing most efficacious, marriages in which there are children end in divorce with a higher frequency than those marriages without children. Yet marriage remains an institution that many would not think of doing away with or even restructuring. Likely even the question of marriage being an outdated institution raises eyebrows. A controversial issue in this country currently is whether gays should have the right to marry, again showing the attachment to this social institution. Many young people wouldn't dream of not getting married. In fact, many women have been dreaming about their impending nuptials since they were young children. This is not only true for women, as many men assume marriage and children are a foregone conclusion in their lives. So what is this author's argument that the idea of marriage might be outdated? Well, beyond the statistics above, I also believe that as...